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InfiniBand Natives Stirring

Too often dismissed as the poor stepchild to Fibre Channel, InfiniBand nonetheless came out of the shadows this week at the Supercomputing 2005 conference in Seattle.

The catalyst? The advent of native InfiniBand storage systems, which let customers connect directly through InfiniBand switches and eliminate the need for Fibre Channel-to-InfiniBand bridges.

First, LSI Logics Engenio division Monday said it was delivering a native InfiniBand storage system to OEM partners Silicon Graphics and Verari Systems. (See Engenio Goes Native , SGI Connects Servers, Storage and Verari Ships InfiniBand SAN.) DataDirect Networks has also been shipping its own native InfiniBand system for months but waited until last week to officially launch it.

How big a deal is native InfiniBand? It allows SAN controllers to connect to servers through InfiiniBand without having to use a Fibre Channel-to-InfiniBand bridge. This bumps up performance because InfiniBand transmits data faster than Fibre Channel.

The InfiniBand community hopes native systems give a boost to a technology making a bit of a comeback after being ridiculed as overhyped a few years back. (See Whither InfiniBand?.)

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